Poets & Bards


The class of people known as Bards and Poets were very important in Celtic Culture as they were the repositories of all knowledge which they memorised and then recited back to the listeners whenever it was required.  They were known as the  Aes Dana 'People of Learning'The Aes Dana  were expected to be able to recite from a repertoire of 350 stories or more although only a few have survived down to our time in written form.  The stories were grouped into twelve categories as follows:

Togla  (Destructions) 

Forbaisi  (Sieges) 

Imrama   (Navigations) 

Tochmarca   (Courtships) 

Aitheid   (Elopements)

Fessa   (Feasts)

Uatha  (Caves)

 Tána   (Cattle-Raids)

 Echtrada   (Adventures)

  Aideda   ( Tragedies)

      Catha   (Battles)

 Airgne    (Plunders)

They also memorised the laws of the land. The most famous of these laws are called the Brehon Laws.  The Poets and Bards lasted up until the seventeenth century in Ireland but then the last of the great Celtic Chiefs were defeated by the invaders and the Aes Dana lost their patronage.

The 'poems' they created were called roscanna which meant 'inspired' or 'vision' poetry.  The rosc was included in many prose tales scribed from the 8th century A.D. onwards.  

For a list of the Poets and Bards of Ireland click here

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